Whirlpool gets patent for sous vide cooking appliance

The appliance manufacturer has received a patent for a device that lets you cook food with a water bath.

Ashlee Clark Thompson Associate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ashlee Clark Thompson
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This is the drawing of the sous vide appliance for which Whirlpool filed a patent.

US Patent and Trademark Office

Whirlpool received a patent earlier this month for a sous vide cooking device, according to documents from the US Patent and Trademark Office. First reported by The Spoon, the small appliance described in the documents consists of an induction cooktop, a cooking container, a wireless temperature probe and a magnetic stirring plate. (You can read the patent documents here.)

Sous vide (French for "under vacuum") is a method of cooking in which you vacuum seal food in plastic bags and cook it in a temperature-controlled water bath. Sous vide is known as a precise and consistent way to cook your food: If you cook bagged steaks in water baths that are always 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the steaks will come out with the same level of doneness each time.

Devices such as immersion circulators or countertop sous vide machines heat and circulate the water to reach and maintain your desired temperature. Whirlpool's appliance looks more similar to products such as the FirstBuild Paragon Induction Cooktop or the Tasty One Top, which are made up of an induction cooktop, temperature probe and app that connect to one another to regulate the temperature of your water bath. The Whirlpool sous vide system includes a specific container that has another cooking vessel within it, whereas you use your own pots for the Paragon and Tasty One Top. Whirlpool declined to comment on the patent.

Whirlpool isn't the first major appliance company to take a stab at sous vide. Some electric slide-in stoves from GE Appliances have induction burners and a Bluetooth-connected temperature probe so you can sous vide on your cooktop. (It's worth noting that GE's Firstbuild microfactory/maker space created the Paragon, which uses the same technology.)

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Originally published July 30.
Update, July 31: Added Whirlpool's declining to comment.